Sunday, 22 April 2012

Nice weather for ducks

The season has arrived, along with, it seems, all that rain we should have had over the winter when the nets were shut. Oh well, at least the 4ths managed to complete a game on Saturday.

This was the first match under Dan Haynes's captaincy, and there was a little controversy over his (thoroughly sensible) no alcohol rule. There was also a great deal of speculation as to what his "big announcement" would turn out to be, and we were all surprised to hear that apparently he'd been in touch with Sky Sport's Cricket AM show, who appear to be interested in having us on the show at some point. I'm told they're going to get me on the speed gun, but if I break 35 mph I'll die of shock on the spot. It's not a show I watch, not having Sky being a severe impediment, but it sounds like fun.

I was a bit worried about my bowling but I had a bit of practise in the nets beforehand and it seemed to be coming out surprisingly well. I even tried a few flippers, which weren't totally useless for once. I then did a bit of a warm-up for once and it felt pretty good, so I'll try to carry that on in future. I am still a bit behind the 8 ball with regards to practise, but I should catch up fairly quickly now I've found a bit of a groove - as long as the rain holds off long enough to allow me more practise time.

We lost the toss and were inserted, and I was as usual inserted into the scorers' box. Pretty quickly found ourselves 2 down for just 6 runs. Dan tried to steady the ship with a slow attritional innings but once Joe got out there was no real support for him at the other end. Chigsy succumbed in classically comic fashion, yelling "YES ONE!" after striking his second ball only to fall face-first onto the wicket shortly after leaving his crease. Dan made the run easily but Chigsy, after picking himself up, ended up about 4 yards short, and I couldn't stop giggling for at least five minutes.

Once Dan fell only the other Dan (Oxley) put up a fight and with the score at 66 for 9 after only 20 overs I came in as #11. My first ball was a curious one, I edged it onto my pads and it trickled back onto the stumps without dislodging the bails. I then saw out the last 3 balls of the over, Dan scored a four and we took a couple of byes next over before Dan called me through for a tight single I couldn't quite make. The opposition skipper said I was unlucky as the ball had gone to the only decent fielder in the side.

So, 72 all out with cold weather, gusting wind, a smattering of rain and a very damp outfield. Not exactly conditions conducive to bowling leg-spin, I think you'll agree. Sam and Nick opened the bowling and we did pretty well considering. The chat in the middle was pretty good, and in my first game as Dan's Vice-Captain I found myself talking a lot more than previously. We did manage to keep things reasonably tight but the total was just way too low to be defensible and in the end we lost by 8 wickets. If we'd won the toss and bowled we could quite possibly have salvaged a draw, as within half an hour of the end a thunderstorm hit and it absolutely bucketed down.

Anyway, we batted poorly and that was that. The positives for the team were that we all seemed to get on really well and there weren't really any mistakes in the field. For myself the positives are that I didn't really do anything wrong all match, and I'm already feeling pretty comfortable about the Vice-Captaincy.

Good points: No fielding mistakes, good consistent communication in the field, good warm-up.
Points for improvement: A little slow off the mark with the bat, could do with running between wickets a bit quicker.

Saturday's stats: (Stafford 4th XI vs Leek Moorlands 2nd XI, 40 overs each)
Batting: No.11, Run Out, 0 (5bf, 0x4, 0x6 prt: 10th 6)
Bowling: did not bowl
Fielding: Ct 0, St 0, RO 0

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Sadly our friendly against Stafford Strikers didn't fare as well, although to get any play at all looked unlikely when I peered out of the window in the morning. The 1sts had been called off before I even got to the ground, and our outfield was decidedly boggy with the odd puddle here and there. After a bit of super-sopper and the odd adjustment to the boundary to avoid the larger muddy patches we decided we'd have a go.

We batted first in what was due to be a 30 over a side game, and we were treated to the improbable sight of Sam Haynes facing up as #1, followed soon after by the rather more familiar sight of Sam Haynes walking back to the boundary after having a somewhat speculative swing at the last ball of the first over. Ryan Finlay also got out before inevitably the heavens intervened. I saw a flash and said it looked like lightning, to which the comment came "can't be, there's no thunder".

Cue thunder.

We carried on to the accompaniment of more thunder as a light drizzle started to fall, and we carried on even when little pea-shooters of hail started rifling down, before finally we had to come off with only about ten overs bowled as the heavens opened good and proper. It rained solidly for an hour or so and we had to give the game up as abandoned.

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